- If you are looking to build a community using WordPress, then you have come to the right place. Today, we will be discussing some of the best WordPress community plugins out there.
Every business has a chance to build a community around its brand. Even open-source projects require communities to thrive and improve over time successfully. This is where community plugins come in. As WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems, we will only be covering community plugins surround it.
To make it easy for you to make a choice, we will first go through the things to consider before getting started.
Things to consider
#1 Social Networking features: The first thing that you should check if the plugin has proper social networking features. Any community site requires social networking features and should invite people to share and build a community around it.
#2 Ease of customization: No two community sites are the same. That’s why you should try to find a community plugin that lets you customize your community site. You should also be able to set it up easily. In short, you should be able to easily customize it.
#3 Responsive Layout: The community plugin should support responsive layout. Most of the community use different types of devices and screen size. Also, a responsive layout will also help your community site to rank higher.
#4 Proper authentication and access control: You should be able to have proper authentication and access control to ensure that you control different accounts and control who can access different section of the website.
#5 Plugin and add-on support: The plugin should be able to support different add-ons and plugins so that you can improve the community site features and functionality.
Let’s start with the best options we have, but before we begin with the list, I’ll recommend you to have a list of requirements, which will help the process of finding the exact match.
Starting with a premium plugin which is currently trending on the platform like CodeCanyon, was the easiest choice for me, and also the obvious one. It’s a plugin that adds user login and profile functionalities to a normal WordPress website powered by BuddyPress, and once it’s working, it can really improve the user experience. The design part is dominated at the front-end, offering most of the features and visuals to the end-users, and everything is wrapped in a simple yet elegant looking UI. It is compatible to work with WooCommerce and even MailChimp, which both are excellent tools further to increase the functionalities of a BuddyPress powered website. The main highlight here is that the plugin integrates social profile login modules, making it damn easy for users to register and login.
- The plugin packs content restrictions and supports multiple popular languages.
- It can create a member directory and allows the webmaster to offer badges to the highlight users.
- It supports unlimited custom fields and allows approving users manually, controlling everything.
- It supports add-ons which can further increase the functionalities like adding a private messaging, user rating, media manager, and much more.
#2 BuddyPress Member Types
If you have a lot of users registered and want to divide them as per their roles, then use this plugin to make that happen. It can divide the members into types and make it work; you don’t have to write any code. Other than this single functionality, the plugin packs other as well, like it makes the procedure of user registration, slightly easy and interactive. It’s a premium product which is backed up by dedicated support.
- It can be used on multiple types of websites like dating, job, intranet, education, healthcare, etc.
- It allows importing the existing user base and can integrate complete details.
- Users are divided into types and visually, it’s shown using tabs.
- The integration is deep into WordPress, allowing the users to have a proper role in the main WordPress Dashboard.
Every website receives some sort of spam and the ones allowing user registration, receives tons of them. The same applies to a BuddyPress powered website, and the default system doesn’t have any mechanism to keep a filter. So, to add one, you need to use WangGuard plugin, which can add dedicated protection against the spammers and sploggers. The plugin is free to use up to a user limit, and once that is over, you need to pay for the premium version of the plugin. Other than the normal functionalities which are included in the package, the plugin also supports add-ons which can further increase its power.
- The plugin packs a configuration section where the settings can be made to affect the global avatar throughout the website.
- It works properly on SSL and is compatible with all the security measures it packs.
- It works properly with other plugins like W3 Total Cache and many other.
- It uses a centralised database for the spammers, and once it sees the wrong behaviour, it updates that user profile throughout every website.
#4 rtMedia for WordPress, BuddyPress and bbPress
Allowing users to upload images and add them to their respective profiles is one simple way to make the community interesting. To make it happen to a normal BuddyPress powered website, you need to use this particular plugin. It even works with bbPress which is one-stop solution for running forum. Apart from this basic introduction, the plugin packs hundreds of functionalities out of which, many are available without any price tag. And, there are also paid add-ons. The design part is responsive to ensure proper functionality on smartphones and tablets, which is a crucial ranking factor these days.
- It totally supports BuddyPress and its activity stream functionality.
- Special privacy features are available which can control which users can see which images.
- It comes with a dedicated front-end uploader which is featured with other image related tools.
- The plugin also packs audio and video encoding and conversion services with FFMPEG and Kaltura add-ons.
#5 BuddyPress Default Data
Before we can begin a new website, especially the one with lots of user registration and community activities, every functionality and feature have to be tested thoroughly. The same implies in the case of BuddyPress as if things go wrong after making the public debut; it will not look good. So, here is a plugin that can help you get dummy user registration and profiles and even the activity streams. Using all these fake profiles, you can test everything, checking whether or not things are working as they are supposed to. It’s a free plugin and should be used for demo purpose only. In any case, it shouldn’t be used on a live site. So, go ahead and create a demo site to test if the configuration is working properly or not.
Finally, there you are the best community plugins. Let me know which one you are picking and exactly why? Also, let me know if this compilation helped you or not. If not, how else I can help you today? See you in the discussion section below. Peace!